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Free Access To Educational Courses? Open Online Access Brings It To You

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Today, in the middle of March 2020, life in America is different than what we are used to. The ongoing novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, crisis is changing daily life in every industry and lifestyle. Employees are working at home, businesses are staying active through online sales and communication with clients, and students are switching to a remote learning environments to continue their education. SUNY can help show you how being at home doesn’t mean you have to stop being productive. You can take college courses and learn new things for free.

Thanks to online learning platforms, an education through SUNY is available to anyone who wants one. A partnership with Coursera has been in place since 2013 and offers select learning opportunities in topics that can help people upskill their current work role or learn new material that can launch a successful path toward career advancement. Coursera is a MOOC learning platform, short for “massive open online courses” which offers learning opportunities, often for free, to students anywhere, anytime on a computer, or even mobile phone!

The benefit of MOOCs is that they meet learner needs at scale. Many times, classrooms on campus have a capacity limit. With a MOOC, online education can bring education to scale across the globe, while interacting with instructors and students across the world within a specific course. Coursera works with top rated institutions around the globe to offer short courses, where learners can view the videos for free. You can then decide whether to pay a nominal fee to get access to all of the communication and learning materials (quizzes, additional articles, etc.) that would lead to a verified certificate of successful completion that can be added to a resume or posted on a LinkedIn profile.

To date, Coursera has enrolled nearly 800,000 people among 44 SUNY courses and 6 specializations on its platform.

Meeting industry needs with comprehensive educational offerings

One of the most popular SUNY courses available on Coursera teaches people about blockchain. This course, taught by Dr. Bina Ramamurthy at the University at Buffalo, makes available information that many people say is changing the nature of the internet. Blockchain enables peer-to-peer transfer of digital assets without any direct links in between. The term is often referenced in discussions about the booming digital currency market like Bitcoin as well as validating documents and file sharing applications for large data elements.  Another popular course for industry is a series on Industry 4.0 that describes how the nature of manufacturing is rapidly evolving for both small and large businesses.

Additional courses offer information on professional and personal development on topics around career advancement, cybersecurity and more. Students can learn about job success practices and resume writing for career advancement. Others can learn about the basics of building websites, and others can learn about new sustainable energy solutions and how they work.  Once course even teaches how to care for a home-bound person.

What can I do with MOOCs?

Students can complete an open online course to receive specialization certificates to help boost career options. But a massive open online course is also often a single solution in a complete education. A MOOC can be a great introduction to a comprehensive online education. With higher education increasingly delivered online, an inexpensive or free course is a great way to learn about the experience as a way to find a path to a full degree program.

SUNY Online is the latest effort at growth in the online education marketplace here at SUNY. A successful run at a MOOC can get you a taste of online education that can open the doors to an online degree program which runs on the same principles. Education is delivered on your time, at your pace as you work toward that degree that can change the trajectory of your professional potential.

Your path to a comprehensive education is well within reach. Log-in and get started today.

Taras Kufel

Written by Taras Kufel

Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.

March 26, 2020

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